Each week Inquiring Minds brings you a new, in-depth exploration of the space where science, politics, and society collide.
This week, Chris Mooney talks to environmental journalist Alan Weisman, who explains why, following on his 2007 New York Times bestseller The World Without Us, he decided to centrally take on the issue of human population.
For his just-published book Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, Weisman traveled to 21 countries—from Israel to Mexico, and from Pakistan to Niger—to report on how different cultures are responding to booming populations and the strain this is putting on their governments and resources.
Importantly, Weisman is no supporter of coercive population control measures such as China's infamous one-child policy. Rather, he makes a powerful case that the best way to manage the global population is by empowering women, through both education and access to contraception.
This episode of Inquiring Minds also features a discussion of the latest myths circulating on global warming, and the brave new world of gene therapy that we're entering—where being rich might be your key ticket to the finest health care.